Friday, February 23, 2018


Presented by Kenichi Sonoda
Translation: Dana Lewis & Toren Smith | Lettering and Retouch: Studio Cutie

This arc would probably be considered the climax of the original run of GUNSMITH CATS. While there is one more shorter storyline following, which we’ll look at next week to wrap things up, this is where previously laid threads come together to provide something of an ending for a few of our characters.

The arc begins with Goldie’s return to Chicago, as she promptly demonstrates the suggestive power of her new, improved Kerasine by brainwashing high-ranking men in four feuding mob families to work together for a supermarket heist that ultimately lands Roy in the hospital. Shortly thereafter, Goldie gets herself arrested in a drug deal and immediately jumps bail, ensuring that Rally will soon be on her tail. It seems she’s decided Rally is the worthiest opponent she’s ever faced, and wants to challenge her skills.

This leads to a fun sequence as Rally and the whole gang pursue every lead in town in their search for Goldie. Eventually they learn she’s holed up in the mansion of a local mafia don, and soon infiltrate the place — but a wrench is thrown into the plan when Rally is confronted by Goldie’s bodyguard and top enforcer, Mister V… who turns out to be Rally’s long-missing father.

Goldie explains that she found Mister V following the conclusion of his vendetta against the men who killed his wife. Recognizing his skill, she quickly brainwashed him and took him into her service. During the course of the story, Goldie brags to Rally that her father is murderer, having mercilessly killed numerous gangsters in his quest to reach the top of their organization… to which I say, “So what?” Rally is really disturbed by this news, but it’s not like her dad was going out on shooting sprees, killing innocent people. He specifically targeted and eliminated a bunch of career criminals. Kenichi Sonoda seems to be trying for some sort of morality thing here, but if the character in question is only killing bad guys, I don’t really think it works.

(Mind you, if Sonoda had had Goldie go into detail about these men, perhaps saying that they weren’t all that bad; like they were just bookkeepers or something, or they wanted out but he didn’t give them the chance, then that would be different. But that’s not the case at all; we’re simply told that Mister V killed a bunch of gangsters, full stop. Hey, so did [most fictional versions of] Elliot Ness.)

Again, it’s nice to see the entire team participating in this mission. I noted last time that the “Mister Smart” arc was really the first time that sort of thing occurred, and it carries over here into “Mister V” as well, with the usual division of labor: Becky gets the info, Ken defuses the bombs (there are always bombs), May acts as a distraction/decoy, and Rally takes point with Misty backing her up (though in this case, she does decoy duty as well, borrowing Rally’s Mustang to lure the mansion’s security guys away while Rally breaks in). Sonoda has found a nice role for everyone at this point, and it’s fun to see them all execute their roles more or less perfectly.

I should note that, even though Goldie has returned, Sonoda maintains his self-control and keeps some of the more objectionable stuff out of the story. Yes, she still has sex slaves, but there’s no on-panel creepiness with them. She does degrade Mister V in front of Rally, and it’s a bit of a squirmy moment, but everyone keeps their clothes on, at least. For the most part, for whatever reason, Sonoda has chosen to make this a somewhat cleaner Goldie experience.

The story continues as Rally and friends escape the mansion. Rally, dumbstruck by the appearance of her father, takes some time to calm herself down (in the shower, naturally — Sonoda excised the sex stuff, but kept the nudity) and then declares that she will take Goldie down and free him from her control.

Soon enough, shortly after Goldie seizes control of the local mob for herself, Rally’s team breaks in on another drug deal and this time things go more or less as expected. Mister V is shocked out of Goldie’s control, Goldie makes a run for it, Bean shows up for a last-minute assist, and Goldie winds up driving into a lake, presumably dead — though her body, and that of her longtime henchman, Dennis, are not found.

As noted above, this is essentially the climax of GUNSMITH CATS. Rally finally beats Goldie definitively and she’s reunited with her father as well. We’re told in the story’s final pages that he is safe and back to his old self, making this more or less a happy ending for our heroes. There is, of course, one short arc remaining, though, and we’ll take a look at that — along with Sonoda’s original RIDING BEAN manga, the prototype for GUNSMITH CATS — next week.

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